Whether you’re spending your first days with your new baby, or an experienced parent of a teenager, you can always benefit from the wisdom of someone else’s experience. Perhaps you think that you’re the only parent with a baby that won’t sleep, or a teenager that won’t stop eating.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Being a parent means that you have huge responsibilities and duties, and that your life will change for ever. Even though you’ll be presented with new challenges on a daily basis, you’ll need to have some idea of what to expect, and how your life will change.
2. The food you feed your child is important. Whilst they may prefer fast food, or takeaways, it’s essential that they get their five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to remain healthy, and to help them develop.
3. Sleep is important for children of all ages. There’s nothing wrong with allowing them to stay up later at the weekend, but on a school night, an established bedtime routine should be in place. You don’t want their concentration and schoolwork to suffer because they’re too tired in school.
4. Skincare for children might seem a bit of an unnecessary worry, but you’ll want to protect their skin, and only use natural products that won’t damage their delicate skin. If you wouldn’t use a baby or child skincare product on your skin, is it right that you use on your child’s skin? What other family health worries do you have?
5. As your child grows, you’ll probably have plenty of heated discussions about clothing, and what’s suitable and what’s not. It’s important to remember that you probably had the same discussions with your parents, and that there’s nothing wrong with your child wanting to choose their own clothes, or wanting to wear something that you don’t like.
6. Your responsibility as a parent is also to teach your child, so you’ll want to share the benefit of your experiences, as well as explaining right from wrong. Your child will learn a lot during the first few years, such as walking and talking, and the other skills s/he will need for life, so you’ll want to be there every step of the way.
7. You’ll want to be a role model for your child, and so you’ll need to set a good example. You might need to be more aware of what you say and how you act, so that it’s not a case of “do as I say, not as I do”.
8. Being a friend to your child will also help them to develop. Whether it’s taking the time to play with them, or to take them to places, or listening to their problems and advising them, you’ll want to make sure that you do your best for your child. Although it can be a fine line between friend and parent, you’ll need to be both.
9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you’re struggling with an aspect of childcare or parenting. Babies don’t come with manuals, and if you’re not the natural you thought you’d be, or your child is harder work than you ever could have imagined, then help is available. Perhaps you could discuss the issues with your partner, or your children if relevant. If you don’t want to ask your friends for help, then why not see what’s available online, or see if your healthcare professional can advise you? You don’t need to suffer alone, and the sooner you ask for help, the sooner you can get help.
10. Above all, it’s important to remember to have fun! Being a parent, and bringing up a child is a wonderful experience, and although it might be hard work at times, it’s extremely rewarding for both you as a parent, and your child.
Now you know more about how you can be a better parent, why not see how other parental advice can help you bring up your child, and make you a better parent?